Creating ambience with delays

Noob question here, I’m trying to replicate scorn’s dub delays technique, the way he uses delays and and feedback to create background textures and ambience, like this:

Any pointers?

first thoughts: it could be granular synthesis and reverb freeze on some sort of audio feed, something similar in more detail:

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The approach will be the same whether you are in or out of the box. Reach for your nearest delay that has a tape delay emulator, or better yet, get a tape delay of some sort. I have a good one in Guitar Rig that I use a lot, as well as an excellent Reaktor ensemble for tape delays… but also there is SoundToys Echoboy or Valhalla Delay… im a bit of a delays and verbs junkie.

i digress.

put your delay weapon of choice on an aux send, and send the return of your delay to another input channel insread of returning it to an aux return, this will allow you to eq and further affect your delays. One of the coolest things w a setup like this is the ability to slowly re-introduce the delay tail back into the effect so you can manually “dub mix” creating interesting feedback loops (beware they can get out of hand quick, so small moves is the way)

if you have the aux’s and channels, id say set up a spring reverb the same way, the interaction of a tape delay (or emulator) with a spring reverb (or emu) will get you into that classic dub atmosphere.

in the Scorn track you posted Harris is basically taking the dub approach and usinig more dubstep and industrial-y sounds vs reworking rocksteady reggae style sounds.

The final bit is to “play” the mixer/fx to get interesting variations along the way. ideally having your source material separated pretty well (kick, snare, perc separate vs a stereo drum track etc), but good dubs can be made with full mixes if you’re creative in the way you dubmix…

i could talk about this for ages, hit me up if you have specific questions. (:


I think you can definitely attempt to kill two birds with one stone by attempting to resample the audio from the reverb. There you can stretch the audio, do some enveloping, arrangement and other stuff to control it around your original snare.

And you still have access to the original reverb for all the other tracks to keep it similar and even carry somewhat. Having a ping pong like feel or whatever.

Also, some of the feedback sounds like a reversed reverb, which if you resample the snare hitting verb, you’ll have available to use. Be able to pitch, stop before the actual snare ting, stretch, etc.

Lastly, the reverb sounds compressed to me. Which may be giving it some more push.

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Now I only need to try and make this work with what I have.
The MPC has sends but I can’t route the return to a different channel, unless I try some clever outboard mixer routing involving the usb mixer and the iPad, then reroute the audio back in, sample as a new track and cut some bits out to add as layers.

Let me try and I’ll report back, thanks for the tips guys!

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Saw this somewhere, maybe it helps?

I have another question about this dub delays setup:
Why using a send with the return going into another send instead of using a chain of effects as send?
Might be obvious but I pretty much do not mix apart from using delay and reverb as sends, in a set and forget sort of way

The reason I like to have the sends on channels is the ability to further tweak the effects, dub mixing concerns itself loads with realtime manipulation, one can still manipulate an insert effect chain, but having everything separate and having the ability to route things in interesting ways is going to allow for more flexibility.

That way I can have my source material running separately and not (for example) put a lowpass filter on the whole say… drum bus, i can just lowpass the effect return.

i wanna say a convoluted reverb(i suggest using because of versatility) with a wierd impluse, eq the impluse and the output sound to taste, run it through a limiter, play around with the stereo field i.e. make the output sound 60% mono, eq it, resample the result and add a stock reverb to the resampled sound, limiter and eq once more and stereoize so that it creates the effect of space

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I definitely like these reverbs you guys are mentioning. I keep meaning to go back to @chasedobson 's post about the Valhalla delay and now I can’t help but the no about a convoluted one. Hell, even a spring reverb.

Sorry. Getting excited bout verbs.

Looks like this will become a general depository for delay tips and tricks, feel free to, if it grows enough we’ll make this a sticky.

Not sure what part of the track you are talking about.
If it’s the snare a reasonable facsimile in the mpc might be to resample your snare maybe 8 times, with different tape delay settings on each. Layer them between 2 pads set to round robin and play either of the pad alternatively to create variations. Maybe?
But yeah, what @chasedobson said was what I do in my daw where I resend the delay to itself. Using a space echo sim with its own lofi reverb is cool. But yeah watch your speakers.
Could you use a tape echo in your iPad and use that as a channel on your mixer? Or in AUM?

Ok, I think I hear the bits you are talking about, that swishy, low pass filtered delay is 100% the sound of tape delay. Actually the boss re pedal is amazing at emulating that kind of stuff in hardware. Highly recommended, I regret selling it because the layout was so simple .

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That is one of the great features of the MPC which I sadly underuse…